From the looks of it, the small town of Star Valley would seem to be supported by bars -- five bars or cocktail lounges in a town of 2,000 residents. But while the establishments are popular, they are not a major supplier of revenue, according to Star Valley Town Manager Lanny Sloan.
The five bars -- Pete's Place, Kelly's Saloon, The Spur Bar, Moose Lodge and Diamond Point Shadows -- do not generate a large amount of taxes, Sloan said.
To the tax collector, the highest contributor to the town among the five establishments is Diamond Point Shadows, a restaurant and bar on Highway 260.
But the five establishments' value must be measured in currency other than dollars.
Rather than act as cash cows for the town, the bars serve more as social glue.
Kelly Sterling said her bar, Kelly's Saloon, which she purchased eight months ago, is almost always packed.
She said she has many customers that are regulars, but the clientele has changed since the atmosphere was upgraded.
Some of the changes Sterling has made to the bar since purchasing it include a new exhaust system, a stage and stage lights.
"We have a lot of loyal customers," she said. "We have a lot of support here."
Sterling said she does not want to raise any prices regardless of the taxes she pays to the town.
Pete's Place is another bar in Star Valley that provides to the town's tax base.
Jennifer Pratte, the manager of Pete's Place, said its customers are a few locals and people driving through or visiting the Rim Country.
Pete's Place is only open in the evening hours from Thursday to Saturday.
Pratte said it is not uncommon for the weekends to draw 100 customers a night.
Pete's Place employees live in the Valley, but spend quite a bit of their earnings in Payson and Star Valley.
"It brings in quite a bit of money to the town," Pratte said.
Gaby Jarolimek, a bartender at The Spur Bar, called his place a "biker, cowboy friendly bar."
She said the place is always busy with town people and people driving through Star Valley. She said the mix is probably about 50 percent locals and 50 percent from people visiting.
"We don't compete with anyone," she said. "Everyone serves the same clients."
Jarolimek said the Spur is the only bar in the town that stays open to closing time.
"It's really busy throughout the day and night," she said
Tom Mathiowetz, another bartender at the Spur, said the crowds come to the neighborhood bar for a few reasons.
"It's a nice neighborhood bar with friendly people," he said.
The Moose Lodge serves a different clientele. It serves lodge members only.
Margie Tetter, a bartender at the Moose, said it is not uncommon for the bar to attract 50 to 60 people at one time, especially during happy hour, which occurs anytime after 2 p.m.
"The bar is always full," she said.
Debbie Swanson, a customer at the Moose, said she has been coming to the bar everyday for the past seven years.
"Everyone is friendly," Swanson said. "It is a place to come and visit your friends. It's fun to sit and visit with people. I know everyone here, and they know me."
-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.